Tuesday, June 5, 2018

..but I LIKE carrots!

Image result for carrots

I eat carrots.   I eat a LOT of carrots... I mean REALLY a LOT of carrots. Not the cooked ones, mind you.. but the raw ones. 

When I first started eating carrots, it was largely because I was trying to lose weight.  Carrots make a great snack.  They're crunchy... they have a slightly sweet flavor...and they have very few calories.  But over time, I realized that there were even more positive attributes to this orange vegetable.... they don't get smashed in the bottom of your lunch bag, they last a long time before they go bad, they're inexpensive... and most importantly, I really like the taste of carrots.  And if you buy the pre-washed baby carrots, they're really easy... you don't peel, you don't cut, you don't wash... you just open the bag and reach in.

My husband doesn't eat carrots - at least not raw carrots.  It's not so much that he doesn't like them, it's more that he prefers fruit - almost any fruit - to vegetables. 
But I digress... let's get back to carrots.

As I was saying... I eat a lot of carrots.  In a typical week, I probably go through two big bags of carrots. And as my items are moving along on the conveyor belt in the grocery store... I sometimes wonder what the cashier is thinking about my order.  ("Hmmm, two bags of carrots, a large jar of pickles, and a jar of yeast.  That's an odd recipe.")  But then I realize that the cashier probably doesn't care about my grocery order, and instead is thinking about the movie they're going to see that weekend, or whether they have to stop and fill up their gas tank before they go home.

Except that I just came across an article about grocery store customers in the UK and Australia.  Apparently, the self-serve kiosks are far more plentiful there than they are here.  At least in the grocery stores that I frequent, there are only a few self-serve registers ... and it always seems a bit silly as there is nearly always at least one employee hovering around to help out and keep an eye on things.

A recent study of self-checkout machines in Australia and Great Britain revealed that  -- according to the register receipts -- people are buying pounds and Pounds and POUNDS ..... of carrots!  In fact, people are buying more carrots than the stores have!!! 

Well obviously people aren't buying more carrots than the store has in stock.  But it turns out that they're buying expensive things like avocados, and berries, and exotic or out-of-season fruits and vegetables... and ringing them up as carrots. 

Frankly, it never occurred to me to do that -- although, as I said, there always seems to be an employee hovering about the self-serve registers.  And besides that, you wouldn't think it would really make that much of a difference in the whole scheme of things. 

But I guess it does. 

The report noted that this tactic resulted in a loss to British grocery stores to the tune of 1 million dollars per year.  My, that IS a lot of carrots.  And don't think that the British are taking this matter lying down.  Some fellow was charged with stealing almost $600 worth of groceries over a three month period of time, by ringing up expensive produce as "loose onions".  Clearly, he should have used "carrots"... one reason why he was caught was that the particular grocery store he was frequenting didn't even sell loose onions.

Just in case anyone out there has been taking note of my grocery store receipts, and they've noticed the larger-than-typical amount of carrots in my purchases... please know that I like carrots, I really do.  And when my receipt says carrots, you can be sure I bought carrots.

I also like tea.  And although my favorite tea (Typhoo) comes from the UK, I would NEVER ring up my tea, as carrots.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Perhaps it's best to ignore them

Charlottesville was horrible... truly horrible.  And there were more white supremacist rallies planned for this weekend, across the country.  Fortunately, most of them were cancelled.  Sadly, Boston has decided to allow the scheduled rally to go forward.. as well as the counterprotest rally.

People!  These Nazi/KKK/white supremacists events are rallies.  And the likelihood of them drawing people to their cause - people who aren't already on their side, are slim.  That likelihood gets slimmer if no one knows about the rally, and it stays just a rally.

The Charlottesville got a lot of media attention, including social media attention.  I'm sure David Duke was absolutely delighted to see his tweets plastered all over the national news.

Like you, I am outraged ... absolutely outraged ... at what these groups are doing.  I find it absolutely inconceivable that someone could align themselves with these groups.  But I have to acknowledge that --  if the Charlottesville counterprotesters had stayed home... I don't think we'd be seeing Duke's hateful words on our television screens.

No, I'm absolutely NOT blaming this on the counterprotesters... not at all.  But...
I think it's time to change strategies.

Remember when you were a child, and your sibling was annoying you... not with what they were doing, but with what they were saying?  And your mother would say "Just ignore them."  I'm not talking about the pushing and shoving and other potentially harmful action... I'm talking about things like repeating everything you said, or disputing everything you said, or saying things they knew would make you mad.  Free speech sorts of things.

And... if you could force yourself to quit responding...  pretty soon your sibling would get bored and move on.

Yes, it was a childish game... but these white supremacists are acting in a childish manner.

Perhaps... just maybe... if we ignored them... if we didn't show up at their rallies, we didn't counterprotest, we didn't put it on the news... maybe they'd get bored.

I'm not suggesting we turn a blind eye to their actions, I'm not suggesting we turn our backs on them, and I am not suggesting we let them do anything other than talk.

But while they're only talking, and until/unless they do more than talking.. perhaps it's best to ignore them.

Yes, I know it will be difficult.. but we can all take a lesson from Tina Fey and eat cake.
And drink tea.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Thing About Birthday Cakes

I came across something interesting this afternoon, and thought it worth sharing.

Remember how - when you were little, and you had a birthday, somebody would make/buy a birthday cake?  And there would be candles on top of the birthday cake -- one for each year, of course.

And those candles would be lit... and then you'd try to blow all the candles out in one breath.

And you'd succeed, of course .. even if you had to cheat just a little... and everyone would clap.  Then the cake would be cut into pieces, and the pieces would be passed around, and everybody would eat birthday cake.

And then everyone would get deathly ill.

Oh wait --- that's NOT how your birthdays went?  Gee, that's not how my birthdays went, either.

Well, maybe we were just lucky.

I mean, really... think about it.  We no longer cover our noses and mouths with our hands when we sneeze or cough, because it's been determined that it's more sanitary to sneeze/cough into our own elbow, or arm.  So why on earth would we put food in front of someone and say to them.. "Ok, now, I want you to blow on this food, as hard as you can...for several seconds.  And if the candles aren't all blown out, then either you can sneak a little breath and blow some more, or else... I know!!  We'll ALL blow on this food.  And THEN.. we'll all eat it.

Well now you can quit worry about this unhealthy practice, because there's a guy who filed a patent for a "Sanitary birthday cake cover and candle system".  It's a thing that goes over the cake.. and the cover has these indentations for the candles.. so you can put the candles in the indentations without them ever touching the cake, and then you can blow out the candles and remove the cover  and Voila!  you've got a germ-free cake.

Wow.  What a concept.
Yet, try as I might, I can't seem to find a place to purchase a sanitary birthday cake cover and candle system.  And it's not just because this is a new idea.. the patent was filed in 2008.  There have even been six more patent applications by different people for slight variations on the original patent.. the most recent being just six months ago.

And yet somehow, this idea hasn't caught on.

Hmmm.. I detect a note of skepticism in your eye.. a bit of a raised eyebrow at this silly discussion. Don't be quite so quick to dismiss the concern. In 2013, Australia's National Health and Medical Research Council declared that children should no longer be allowed to blow out candles on a birthday cake, and suggested that if parents wish to give their child the traditional experience, they should provide a separate cupcake with a candle.

Well...  after some pondering, I've decided that I'm willing to take my chances on birthday cake germs.  For all we know, frosting is some magical antibacterial that no one knows about... because - think about it... Have you ever heard of a bunch of people  - children or adults - getting sick after eating birthday cake?  Of course not.

So I'm going to continue eating birthday cake - whether or not it's had candles, and whether or not those candles have been lit, and then blown out.  And of course with my cake, I'll have some tea.